Women of Washington

Communicating America’s Founding Principles

Women of Washington is an educational organization with a focus on understanding local, national, and global issues that are critical to our world today.



By Judy Leithe  

The U.S. Constitution was approved by Congress on September 17, 1787.  It went into effect on March 4, 1789, with a majority vote of nine of the thirteen states, but it took another year before being officially ratified by all thirteen states.

State delegates, known as Federalists, considered the Constitution a complete and sufficient document by which to structure a new American government.  However, there were other state delegates, known as the Anti-Federalists, who reflected growing concerns about "rights" not being enumerated in the Constitution.  Even though the document is a declaration of almost 300 rights, there were fears that unless human rights were specifically listed, there could be opportunities for a federal government to gradually encroach on the rights of the states and their citizens.  Out of 189 suggestions, Congress unanimously approved 10 amendments.  The Bill of Rights were added to the Constitution on May 29, 1790.

Our Founding Documents are based on an informed and moral citizenry.  The Constitution Corner series has been a year-long exploration of our shared American heritage.  Careful attention has been given to accurately record historical dates and events.  However, the main focus has been to bring to our modern times the real-life stories of the courage and commitment required of our ancestors, who willingly endured every kind of hardship in their search for freedom from tyrannical governments.  

All reference sources quoted in the Constitution Corner series are recommended for more in-depth study.  John Adams stated, Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge.  For continued study, there are two books, both user-friendly tutorials, that are recommended for better understanding of our unique Founding Documents.  The first book is The 5000-Year Leap, Principles of Freedom 101 by W. Cleon Skousen (National Center for Constitutional Studies, www.nccs.net).  In Skousen's book, he defines the differences between Ruler's Law and People's Law. 

The second book, interestingly, was written by Cleon Skousen's son, Paul B. Skousen entitled, How to read the Constitution & the Declaration of Independence.  He states, Fighting for survival has been a terrible problem that started with the beginning of human history.  It took us thousands of years to finally find a peaceful solution, and when we did, an astonishing thing happened.  A totally new kind of nation arose that changed the course of history. 

About the authors: W. Cleon Skousen (1913-2006) - Graduate of Georgetown Law School; former FBI agent; sheriff; college professor; national leader in Constitutional studies.   

Paul B. Skousen - Graduate of Georgetown University in National Security Studies; Intelligent Officer for the FBI and Ronald Regan Administration; college professor.  He currently writes for the news organization, Daily Caller.